2016 Mazda Mazda3 Overview

Patrick Frawley
Automotive Editor - September 28, 2015

The Mazda3 is a key part of Mazda's identity as a maker of cars that are as enjoyable to drive as they are practical to use and pleasant to own. In a market glutted with competent but soulless compacts, the Mazda3's style and moves make it a clear winner.

What's New for 2016

The SV trim level has been dropped; to compensate, pricing for the Sport has been cut by $600. A rearview camera is now standard on all Mazda3s and new option packages are available on the i Sport and Touring lines.

Choosing Your Mazda Mazda3

The Mazda3 is a compact front-drive sedan or hatchback powered by a four-cylinder engine, but the goodness lies in the details behind that description. Those compact dimensions contain, respectively, one of the most attractive sedans and one of the most intriguingly proportioned hatchbacks on the market. That four-cylinder engine is among the most advanced currently available; Mazda's SkyActiv technology mixes excellent fuel economy with respectable output and a wonderfully eager attitude. And while other manufacturers pursue the blandest possible suspension tuning, Mazda prioritizes responsiveness and feel while still retaining plenty of civility and good manners.

Quick notes to help organize a lengthy trim-level matrix:

  • A Mazda3 i is powered by the 155-horsepower 2-liter motor, an s by the 184-horsepower 2.5-liter.
  • EPA mileage estimates are 29 mpg (manual) or 30 mpg (auto) city/41 mpg highway (either) for the i and 25 mpg/37 mpg (manual) or 28 mpg/39 mpg (automatic) for the s.
  • The five-door in any level is $700 more than its four-door equivalent.
  • An automatic transmission is a $1050 option on any trim level across the range except for the s Touring, where it is standard.
  • Delivery adds $820 to the MSRP shown ($865 if you live in Alaska).

The Mazda3 lineup includes five trim levels split between the i and s versions. Quoted MSRPs are for the sedan with manual transmission except for the auto-only s Touring.

i Sport

The i Sport ($17,845) starts off with an impressive list of standard features including pushbutton start, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a touchscreen to control the sound system, which includes HD radio and Pandora compatibility, and Bluetooth.

i Touring

The i Touring ($21,095) adds 16-inch alloy wheels; upgraded body trim; a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shifter and brake-lever grip; blind-spot monitoring; and a sunroof.

i Grand Touring

The i Grand Touring ($22,545) switches leatherette upholstery in for cloth; adds power adjusters to the driver's seat and heaters to both front seats; and includes navigation and an upgraded stereo with Bose speakers and SiriusXM reception.

s Touring

The s Touring ($24,795) bolts on 18-inch wheels and adds a heads-up speedometer and nav display, and paddle shifters for the automatic transmission.

s Grand Touring

The s Grand Touring ($24,745) puts real leather on the seating surfaces and adaptive xenon lamps in the headlight housings.

As is for the Mazdas, the list of available options is short. Individual trim levels often have individual packages:

  • The Preferred Equipment Package for the i Sport includes alloy wheels and blind-spot monitors and some upgraded trim
  • The Popular Equipment Package for the i Touring features dual-zone climate control and the upgraded sound system.
  • The Technology Package for the s Grand Touring adds the i-ELOOP capacitor-based regenerative braking system, radar cruise control and forward obstruction sensing, and a lane-departure warning system.
  • An Appearance Package, which fastens several aerodynamically-influenced trim pieces around the bodywork is available across the board, as are rear parking sensors.
CarsDirect Tip

Make a list of your preferred features and match it to the appropriate trim level, then choose a color. You can't go wrong here.

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